After a quick lunch in Torrey, we drove 2.5 hours south via Escalante to Bryce Canyon National Park. We were staying just outside town in what seemed like the seediest motel ever. It was actually a windowless “cabin” behind the motel… more of a shed really, but it’s all that was available. While the scenery within the park was stunning, this was my least favourite spot. The entire town was only established in 2007 and felt more like a cheesy theme park more than anything. Trading posts, souvenir shops, and cowboy steakhouses lined the streets. We drove into the park to the Bryce Lodge for dinner and walked between Sunrise and Sunset Points before calling it a night.
Following a poor excuse for a breakfast at the motel’s cowboy restaurant, we drove into the park and took the shuttle bus from the visitors centre. Our first hike was down into the canyon on the Queens Garden/Navajo Loop Trail where we took our time and enjoyed the scenery. We took the Wall Street Trail back up to the rim of the canyon which was amazing with its narrow, towering canyon walls. The crowds were pretty epic and I stopped trying to take photos without people in them and just went with it. It was about lunch time when we got back to the top, so we headed to town for a bite to eat at the Canyon Diner, which was the most disappointing, (but at this point, not surprising) meal we’ve had in a long while. We walked around some of the shops, before driving the length of the park down to Rainbow Point where there were no crowds. We grabbed some pizza at the Bryce Lodge for dinner before calling it an early night.
I personally think that sunrise at Bryce is worth waking up early for, so we were out of our room while it was still dark and made our way to sunset point about 45 minutes before sunrise as we expected lots of other people. There were a couple people lined up, so we easily found a spot along the railing and waited. Over the next 45 minutes the crowds began to grow and bump elbows fighting for a spot at the railing. The clouds were pretty thick and it was looking like there would be no epic sunrise today. About 5 minutes after most people called it quits, the sun broke through the clouds and illuminated the Bryce Amphitheatre turning the rock formations a fiery red. It was worth the wait and patience to witness that. After the sunrise, we headed back to the motel, packed our bags and hit the road for a long day of driving.